American University’s Initiative for Russian Culture, the Brubeck Institute and the Open World Leadership Center Saluted Jazz Diplomacy with Russian Jazz Great Igor Butman and the first-ever U.S.-Russia Rising Stars Jazz Band

American University’s Initiative for Russian Culture, the Brubeck Institute and the Open World Leadership Center Saluted Jazz Diplomacy with Russian Jazz Great Igor Butman and the first-ever U.S.-Russia Rising Stars Jazz Band

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Photo ID’s below

Washington DC - American University’s Initiative for Russian Culture (AU IRC), in partnership with the University of the Pacific’s Brubeck Institute and the Open World Leadership Center, hosted an extraordinary event that put a spotlight on jazz diplomacy in a unique and meaningful way.   The evening featured a discussion with Russian Jazz great Igor Butman, which was followed by a first-ever performance by the U.S.-Russia Rising Stars Jazz Band comprised of Open World alumni and the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet.   After the program and performance, guests were amazed by an enormous globe that reflected jazz performances from Russia and the United States, while enjoying desserts and refreshments in a décor that recreated famous jazz clubs from NYC, New Orleans, Chicago and Moscow.

According to AU IRC’s Advisory Board Chair Susan Carmel Lehrman, “The AU’s IRC was established with the fundamental belief that the greatest tool for understanding people and reaching their hearts and minds is through their culture.  Tonight’s event, focused on the cultural bond that we share with Russia through jazz, was an important step forward towards our goal of greater cultural understanding between our two nations.  By continuing to emphasize the importance of our common cultural bonds, especially to our younger generations, I believe that the IRC will help these and future generations find the common ground necessary to be able to work together and interact with mutual respect well into the future.” 

Ambassador of the Russian Federation H.E. Sergey I. Kislyak said, “The Initiative for Russian Culture is something that can not only generate more interest but also more understanding of Russia by American students, and I wish we had more of these programs both here in the United States and in Russia as well.”

“The Brubeck Institute is thrilled to partner in this event celebrating jazz diplomacy,” said Simon Rowe, executive director of University of the Pacific’s Brubeck Institute. “As they form new friendships with their Russian counterparts, our Brubeck Fellows are beginning their own journeys as diplomats in the style of jazz greats Igor Butman and Wynton Marsalis, who were inspired in turn by the iconic careers of Louis Armstrong and Dave Brubeck, our first great jazz ambassadors.”

Said Ambassador John O’Keefe, Executive Director of the Open World Leadership Center, “Last night’s fantastic event recalls the many great U.S.-Russia jazz collaborations; from Duke Ellington’s impromptu appearance in a St. Petersburg club in 1971, to President Bill Clinton jamming with Igor Butman in the Kremlin.”

Picture ID’s: #1: Amb. O’Keefe, Igor Butman, Amb. Kislyak, Susan C. Lehrman, Amb. Kislyak, Dr. Fedyashin, Simon Rowe; #2: Room decor; #3: Butman performing; #4Student audience; #5: US –Russia Rising All Stars Band; #6: US-Russia Rising All Stars Band; #7: All Stars w/ Butman; #8: Globe; #9: Globe/desserts; #10: Jazz Club decor

About American University’s Initiative for Russian Culture: American  University’s Initiative for Russian Culture (AU IRC)  promotes greater understanding of Russian culture's versatility and richness among all Consortium students in the Washington, DC area. It builds lasting connections between Russians and Americans by reaching out to their hearts and minds. The AU IRC offers screenings of classic Soviet and Russian films with discussions led by visiting experts. Academic conferences, art exhibits, musical performances, and other events are held at American University, the Embassy of the Russian Federation, the Library of Congress, and other locations around the Washington Metropolitan area. The AU IRC organizes an annual summer trip to Russia for ten consortium students, and has awarded a total of fourteen merit and need-based grants to date for study in Russia. Expanding these offerings, the AU IRC will award five new study abroad grants this academic year. Courses on Russian arts and culture at American University offer students new perspectives on Russia.

About the Open World Leadership Center: The Open World Leadership Center, a legislative branch agency, supports Congressional outreach to Eurasia and other countries. It conducts exchanges that establish lasting professional relationships between the up-and-coming leaders of Open World countries and Americans dedicated to showcasing U.S. values and democratic institutions.  Open World has introduced more than 19,000 current and future decision makers from Russia, other countries of Eurasia, Egypt, and now Turkey to American political and civic life, and to their American counterparts. The U.S. Congress established Open World in 1999.

About the Brubeck Institute: Established by the University of the Pacific in 2000, The Brubeck Institute impacts society through the arts, continuing the life’s work of Dave and Iola Brubeck in education, community engagement and as a catalyst for social change. Institute programs include The Brubeck Collection, The Brubeck Festival, The Outreach Program, The Summer Jazz Colony and The Brubeck Fellowship Program. Brubeck Fellows, comprising the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, are winners of seven DownBeat awards for best collegiate jazz group in the country. For more information, visit Brubeck University of the Pacific, with campuses in Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco, was established in 1851 as the first university in California.